A four-game winning streak came to an end in heart-breaking fashion for the Hills-Beaver Creek football team Oct. 16 in Westbrook.
Squaring off against the Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers with a home game on the line for the opening round of the playoffs, H-BC played well early while opening a 26-6 lead.
W-WG, however, scored 32 second-quarter points to open a 38-26 halftime lead and withstood a late challenge by the Patriots to secure a 52-48 victory.
“We had our bubble popped in the second quarter,” said H-BC coach Rex Metzger.
“We were in control before our starting quarterback (Dylan Gehrke) rolled his ankle and missed the rest of the game. Our second-string quarter (freshman Zach Scholten) did a good job and kept us in the game, but they came up with some big plays in the second quarter and late in the game to beat us.”
It looked like the Patriots might rout the Chargers when they opened a 26-6 lead early in the contest.
H-BC received the game’s opening kickoff and moved the ball 66 yards in six plays with Gehrke tossing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Tilstra to give the Patriots a 6-0 advantage.
After H-BC’s Drew Forshey recovered a fumble two plays into W-WG’s opening possession, Gehrke raced 38 yards for a touchdown and Caleb Vis carried in the ensuing two point conversion to up H-BC’s lead to 14 points.
W-WG answered the challenge late in the first quarter by putting together a five-play, 54-yard drive.
Quarterback Shane Buchman ended the possession with a four-yard run to make it a 14-6 difference.
H-BC took advantage of a pair of W-WG turnovers registered two touchdowns early in the second quarter.
Following a fumble recovery by Jeff Nelson, Nelson capped a short drive with a one-yard run to up H-BC’s lead to 14 points (20-6).
Caleb Ellingson intercepted a pass to end W-G’s next offensive possession and Vis raced 48 yards for a score on the next play to make it 26-6.
The rest of the first half turned into a nightmare for the Patriots, who surrendered 32 unanswered points.
W-WG moved the ball 51 yards during its next offensive possession following the 48-yard scamper by Vis.
The drive ended with Bachman tossing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Sean McCroskey before flipping conversion pass to Levi Bunting.
Trailing 26-14, the Chargers surprised H-BC with an onside kick that W-WG recovered on the H-BC 31-yard line.
Bachman scored on an eight-yard run and carried in the ensuing two-point conversion moments later to make it a 26-22 difference.
W-WG defender Matt Otto gave the Chargers their first lead of the game when he recovered an H-BC fumble and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown as the second quarter progressed.
Reserve quarterback Tristan Joel threw a successful converson pass to Bunting after the touchdown to give the Chargers a 30-26 advantage.
H-BC was about to get the ball back after the teams exchanged possessions late in the second quarter, but H-BC fumbled a punt and W-WG recovered the ball on the Patriots’ 23-yard line.
Bachman tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Matt Otto four plays later and hooked up with Joel for a successful conversion pass that gave the Chargers a 38-26 lead they would take into the second half.
The Patriots turned things around early in the second half by scoring 14 consecutive points to regain the lead at 40-38.
After forcing the Chargers to punt early in the third quarter, H-BC’s opening possession of the second half turned into a seven-play, 60-yard drive.
Vis ended the march with a 22-yard touchdown run and Scholten hooked up with Tilstra for a successful conversion pass to trim W-G’s lead to four points (28-34).
Neither team could produce any more points in the third quarter, but the Patriots moved in front 40-38 early in the fourth quarter when Vis scored on a three-yard run.
The Chargers regained the lead (44-40) during their next offensive possession when Bachman delivered a 53-yard touchdown pass to McCroskey during a first-and-25 situation.
H-BC countered with a 10-play, 88-yard drive ending with a seven-yard touchdown run by Vis.
Scholten tossed a successful conversion pass to Carey Taubert after the touchdown to give the Patriots a 48-44 lead.
Facing a fourth-and-10 situation late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers struck a fatal blow when Bachman connected with McCroskey for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 2:20 left to play.
The same combination clicked for a successful conversion pass that gave the Chargers a 52-14 lead.
H-BC moved the ball to the W-WG 14-yard line late in the contest, but the threat ended when the Chargers picked off a pass with 50 seconds left to play.
“After losing our starting quarterback and experiencing what we did in the second quarter, I thought our kids responded pretty well in the second half,” Metzger stated.
“We had a chance to win the game in the end, but I made a poor coaching decision by trying to pass the ball when we should have ran it again.”
H-BC: 269 rushing yards, 151 passing yards, 420 total yards, 11 first downs, seven penalties for 65 yards, three turnovers.
W-WG: 84 rushing yards, 247 passing yards, 331 total yards, eight first downs, 14 penalties for 120 yards, three turnovers.
Rushing: C.Vis 28-230, Gehrke 2-40, Nelson 1-1, Scholten 2-minus 2.
Passing: Gehrke 6-11 for 48 yards, Scholten 11-20 for 103 yards.
Receiving: Ellingson 7-34, Taubert 6-87, Tilstra 2-22, C.Vis 1-8.
Defense: Ellingson five tackles and one interception, Gehrke five tackles, Forshey six tackles and one fumble recovery, Tilstra eight tackles, C.Vis nine tackles, Isaiah Vis two tackles, Stuart Plimpton two tackles, Isaiah Wagenaar two tackles, Anthony Behr two tackles, Dalton Klarenbeek two tackles, Nelson five tackles and one fumble recovery, Taubert five tackles.